Aussie women win World Series

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The Australian Women's Sevens are the country's first World Sevens Series champions, after a 35-0 Clermont quarter-final win over Spain.

While the victory only qualifies them for the Cup semi-final in France, assurance of a top four finish means their World Series lead is unassailable.

As well as being the first Australian team to claim a trophy, Australia has become the only country outside New Zealand to take the series since its 2012 inception.

Australia has won three of the five legs in the World Series so far, before finishing third in Langford, Canada last month, and could yet claim a fourth after their win over Spain.

After a tight start, it was try-scoring machine Emilee Cherry who broke the deadlock in the fourth minute of the opening half, breaking through the Spanish defence.

Australia's leading try scorer, Cherry, put in another scintillating performance, with two tries for the night, the second coming off an even more evasive run than the first, leaving Spanish defenders in her wake.

Evania Pelite streaked down the right edge two minutes later, finishing off a deft Chloe Dalton pass, giving Australia their second as they wrestled away more momentum.

A 14-0 lead at the break set the Aussies up well for the second stanza and they had an opportunity early in the back end, but winger Ellia Green couldn't quite get to a Cherry pass in time.

Dalton remedied that less than a minute later, capitalising on a Spanish lineout overthrow to score and convert her own try, one of five conversions she slotted from as many attempts.

Charlotte Caslick iced the game after full-time, with the final try of the match.

Australian Sevens coach Tim Walsh said the title win was the pay off after years of effort, but an Olympic gold medal still looms as the end game.

"It's been the product of three years of hard work which has culminated in this World Series win,It's really valuable for us as we prepare for Rio." he said.

"I'm really proud of the team and we're so grateful for the support we have had from friends and family all over the world.

Walsh said the stakes didn't faze his players, who knew a win was all they needed against Spain.

"Were we nervous going into the game? Nothing really phases this group - they're a class bunch of players and as the sport grows and grows the pressure on them will only grow.
I really think we can handle the pressure."

Co-captain Sharni Williams, who returned in Clermont after a six-month injury layoff, said the win meant a great deal to the side.

"It's pretty awesome. We set these little goals as a team and I'm so proud and excited," she said

"We always respect the jersey when we go out there and we love representing our country,

Her fellow skipper Shannon Parry said she felt the title vindicated the the governing body's move in turning the women's program full-time.

"After a good day one we went into today with a lot of confidence," she said.

"Walshy [Tim Walsh] instills into us the need to go through the processes to get the outcome we want and we just follow them.

"I'm extremely proud to be part of the program and we're all so grateful that the ARU had the confidence to make us full-time a couple of years ago. Hopefully we're repaying that faith."

With the World Series title now tucked away, Australia will shift its focus to semi-final opponents, New Zealand, in what will be an epic decider.

The Kiwis beat France in the quarter-final, setting up a mouthwatering final four clash with Australia, as the women in green and gold bid for a fourth title in five 2015-16 tournaments.

Australia takes on New Zealand at 12:53am AEST on Monday morning, for a spot in the Cup final.


(Tries: Cherry 2, Pelite, Dalton, Caslick Cons: Dalton 5